Hello there, back again with another excellent product review and article for you! This time, we will be looking at one of my favourite single-coil pickups: Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s Stratocaster pickups. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you would probably know I have a Fender American Standard Stratocaster in mystic blue colour and often promote my instrument here.
While I was working in the musical instruments industry, I had the chance to play many Stratocasters including all American-made standard, American Special series, as well as Mexican-made Strats featuring different pickups.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to afford an authentic Stratocaster back in the day and I always went for cheaper copies such as SX SST62 Stratocaster or Vintage Reissued V6 Stratocaster as featured here.
Even though these did a great job for me and I always enjoyed playing them, when it comes to the sound of pickups, I always wanted to have these Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s Stratocaster pickups in my Strat copies. Having said that, it didn’t really make much sense to invest in these pickups and put these in cheap copies as these would cost more than the guitar itself!
One of my favourite Strats was actually a Mexican-made, Fender Roadworn Player Series Stratocaster featuring Texas Special Stratocaster pickups. However, I always found these pickups sound too harsh and aggressive. So whenever we had an American Standard Stratocaster in the shop, I would fall in love with Fat 50s again!
Years later, I managed to get myself a Fender American Standard Stratocaster in mystic blue and of course, featuring Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s Stratocaster pickups!
Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s Stratocaster Pickups Features
According to Fender, the Fat 50s set has been a calibrated set of pickups with hand-bevelled and staggered Alnico V magnets and Formvar magnet wire.
What is a staggered pickup?
Staggered pickups are made in a way that pole pieces on the magnet for each string is adjusted to a specific height so the pickups can produce a balanced output for individual strings. This allows better fine-tuning capabilities as staggered pickups already guarantee a way more balanced output for individual strings.
Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s Stratocaster pickups have a wonderful bass response without the harsh midrange. The middle pickup is reverse wound/reverse polarity for hum-cancelling in the 2nd and 4th positions.
Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s Pickups Tech Specs
|Magnet Type||Alnico 5|
|DC Resistance||Neck: 6.26K, Middle: 6.34K, Bridge: 6.43K|
|Inductance||Neck: 2.49 Henries, Middle: 2.5 Henries, Bridge: 2.63 Henries|
|Pole Pieces||Staggered hand-beveled|
|Output||Moderate (3 out of 5)|
|Other Features||Recommended for Blues, Rock, Classic Rock, Country, Pop, and Jazz.|
Even though I’m more into humbucker pickup sounds and always love to have high-gain guitar sounds at my disposal, I tend to play my Strat a lot since I really enjoy the sound and feel of these Fat 50s pickups. There are not many genres or guitar-tone territories that these pickups can not cover!
With my ENGL E570, I have been able to have a lot of different tones by using Modern/Classic voicings as well as boosting particular channels with Hi-Gain/Gain Boost functions.
The cool thing about these pickups is that they can really cut through the mix without the need of mixing and EQ’ing post-record guitar tracks.
Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s Wiring Diagram
For those who have purchased this pickup set as an upgrade to your current single-coil pickups, here is the official wiring diagram! In my other articles, such as in the SX SST62 Stratocaster review, I often promote Fender pickups as an upgrade. It still doesn’t make so much sense for people to pay for these pickups that would cost more than their copy Strats! But believe me, pickups are very crucial components in electric guitars and will definitely add a lot of value and quality to your sound.
Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s Pickups Review & Sound Demo (no talking)
In order to show you many possible guitar tones that you can get out of these pickups, I have prepared a no-talking video in which I use my Fender American Standard Stratocaster, ENGL E570 tube preamp, ENGL Cabloader and a little bit of room reverb by Valhalla Room Reverb.
I have tried to present you with clean tones with Classic voicing on my preamp as well as Lead I channel (all boosted) so you can really hear the potential of these pickups. Combined with my ENGL Cabloader and different speaker cabinets, you can really hear how these pickups react to completely different setups.
As you can hear from the video, they sound amazing and very authentic. If you are also a humbucker pickups fan, you may find single-coil Strat pickups always sound thin and harsh, but it’s in their nature and this gives them the much-loved, aggressive Strat sounds.
As in all Strats, you may have some harshness on the bridge position. But this is something that doesn’t really bother me at all. When I had the chance to play that Fender Roadworn Player Stratocaster with Texas Specials, I was very annoyed with the fact that the bridge pickup was too harsh. And overall, that guitar sounded way more thin and weak. I have never had this feeling with Custom Shop Fat 50s.
In my opinion, these are the best Strat pickups that you can buy off the shelf. As a side note, adjusting the pickup height on your Strat is crucial. There are tons of information and instructions on the internet, but I like to set them up by ear. Neck pickup can really dominate the other pickups if set to close the strings, so you had better be careful and check the balance of each pickup combination after each adjustment.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief article and sound demos of Custom Shop Fat 50s pickups. Thanks for visiting my blog and supporting me so far! I will hopefully see you in the next review here!